refinishing the front door

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: progress, woodworking | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Judy working on the front door front door in progress

Judy sanding down the front door

Judy’s been working away at the front door! Every day she takes it off the hinges and lays it out to work… first she stripped off most of the lead paint using a soy based stripper (supposedly less toxic ) and then she started sanding away the remaining bits, stopping to vacuum up the lead dust every few minutes. The wood underneath is so beautiful! We think we’ll keep the grain exposed on the inside of the door, and paint the outside of the door Portsmouth Spice (a dusty pumpkiny kind of color) to match the beautiful side door (which she also refinished over the winter!) Every day at the end of work, we have to re-hang the front door on its hinges, it looks nicer already!

old front door front door

door before … door in progress


Posted: December 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: progress | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


The house in snow. Photo by Richard!

We can’t actually do anything to/for/about the house at the moment since we’re still in South America, but my parents are SO excited about this, they have been working like crazy! Judy has started tearing out some of the moldy carpeting (started on the stairs) and Richard has been in the basement, trying to untangle the crazy rats-nest of messed-up electrical wiring and make it safe to use. The state of the electrical wiring sounds so bad that it’s a miracle the house hasn’t caught fire yet. Judy and Richard found a beautiful old wooden door somewhere in the attic or something, and they brought it home to strip the finish and re-paint it. It turns out the door had been cut down at some point, just sliced off a few inches on the side and on the bottom, so Richard is grafting on new wood to replace the missing pieces. The idea is that this will become our new front door, so we’re all thinking about what color it should be painted. And Judy’s brought home some window-frames to strip and re-finish too.


Judy and Richard are stripping and repairing and refinishing this beautiful door

Judy and Richard’s contractor, Ted, came out to take a look at the ell, where the roof is badly damaged and support beams have rotted. He says that because the ell is attached to the side of the house, it would be easier/cheaper to repair the ell than to tear it down! We’d been thinking about tearing it down but the idea was painful to think about, I prefer to save it if we can afford to! We are planning to do most of this project with our own hands but for the structural issues in the ell we all thought it was best to bring Ted in to check it out and get some basic work done. So the idea is to do a minimal amount of repair at this point, just enough to get the support beams solid and straighten out the roofline. Then he will patch up the roof and then whole thing should be structurally sound and we can just leave it alone and forget about it until we’ve got the main house livable and we have the time and energy and money to figure out what we want to do with the ell. Ted’s already gone in and put a temporary patch on the roof to keep it standing through the winter, and sometime after January he’s supposed to come back and start working on some basic structural repairs.

Amazing that there’s so much progress being made on the house before we’ve even seen it! For our part, Mike and I are thinking and planning a lot, I drew up an imaginary floor-plan of the first floor to help us picture the space. The bathroom will be our first project when we arrive, and we think the kitchen will be the next project. We’re planning to move the bathroom from its current location to under the stairs. Hoping to have the kitchen and bathroom finished/usable by June of 2010! But for the moment we’re thinking more about our upcoming trip to Peru – we’re leaving in less than a week!

First floor layout (not entirely accurate but you get the general idea)




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